8 April 2020 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Vehicles used in the theft of ATMs from banks at Main Street in Dundalk in the early hours of last Saturday morning had been stolen in Co Monaghan a number of days previously, a court in Northern Ireland was told on Monday.

Two men who came before Craigavon Magistrates Court on charges alleging involvement in the theft of the cash machines, believed to have contained in the region of €240,000, had applications for bail refused.

Two men from Silverbridge, Co Armagh – Fergal Nolan, 24, of Bawns Road, and Michael Muckian, 29, of Crave Road – are jointly charged with four offences allegedly committed on April 4, including two counts of possessing criminal property, handling a stolen pick-up vehicle and handling property that had been stolen in the Republic of Ireland.

Shortly after the thefts, the PSNI arrested three men in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh after a cross-Border pursuit. The third man arrested, a 57-year-old, was released unconditionally.

Monday’s court hearing was told that, on the night of the thefts, two of the stolen vehicles were set alight at the exits of Dundalk Garda Station to hinder the police response.

Officers picked up on the theft via the banks’ CCTV. The court heard that it appeared all those involved were masked and were communicating via walkie-talkies.
The court heard that the lorry proceeded to block the road before the digger smashed into the banks, removed the machines and placed them on the trailer, which was attached to another vehicle.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court that a number of vehicles, including a van, a Mercedes and the pick-up truck, were stolen from a house in Co Monaghan in a “creeper burglary” last Wednesday.

A defence lawyer said both defendants’ families were willing to put forward cash sureties of £10,000 each. He said both men were “wanted in the Republic of Ireland on more serious offences”.

Judge Eamon King described the thefts as “almost a military operation” and said there were “clearly other parties and extensive planning involved”.
He rejected bail for both men who will appear again by video link in May.

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